A few years ago, I got the opportunity to interview and write about an artist who resides outside Memphis, Tennessee. Her album, Unnaturally Blonde, made me realize Sandy Carroll was not your average singer/songwriter. Unnaturally Blonde read more as chapters in a book with good music in the background.
Now in 2016, Sandy has released her newest album, Last Southern Belle. With the success of Unnaturally Blonde receiving “international critical acclaim,” it would be safe for Sandy to produce an album similar to her past work.
But I have the feeling Sandy, as a child, was a daredevil who took chances. That is what she did with her newest album, Last Southern Belle. With the help of singer/songwriter Mark Narmore and producer Jim Gaines, Sandy did a 180 from her preceding album. For this writer, Last Southern Belle is a 180 degree recipe for success.
Last Southern Belle is an album filled with raw Americana music. Sandy opens with “Driving Toward the Sun,” an alternative Midwest Blues piece pulling away from traditional country blues. But then she moves back into the southern genre with “Last Southern Belle.” I love the harmonies and fiddle in this number. “Southland Rules” stands out, having a cool bluesy keyboard and would be a great “side B” to “Last Southern Belle.” But its “Tattoo (That I Can’t Undo)” that is her best track. There are a lot of realities in this piece. Many will relate to it. Tracks nine and ten, “Hallelujah Hill” and “Water Run Deep” lean toward the spiritual/gospel side of Sandy. Both are well done and genuine.
As I listen to Last Southern Belle over and over, I get the impression that Sandy wanted something that represented the south, but also represented herself. This is an album noteworthy as she pushes her boundaries. As she told me, Last Southern Belle is “raw, real, and authentic.” I have to agree with the raw Americana appearance. I’m JR Miller with High Note Reviews, and this is Sandy Carroll singing about the Last Southern Belle.